Monday, January 17, 2011

Man Up America

There's a creature called Jabba the Hut in George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy. Jabba ia essentially a huge blob who sits around his palace waiting for his minions to bring him food, entertainment and whatever else blobs need to get by. Sometimes I think modern man is on the road to Jabba-hood. If you look around, it's no secret that as a people we are definitely tubbier than our forefathers. We eat too much, exercise too little, and generally live life vicariously in front of our 54-inch plasma TVs. Our sense of adventure has been dulled by too much technology and convenience. We're spoiled to the point where we rely on government instead of ourselves. Contrast this vision of a fat, complacent America with the remarkable lives of those who preceded us in the greatest country in the world.

It started with the American Revolution against a monarchy that abused its colonies and bled them dry. Had George Washington not achieved the impossible by beating the world-class British army with a ragtag but passionate band of patriots, we'd all be having afternoon tea about now. If those brave colonials had the attitude that prevails in the average American today, many of them would have called in sick on the day George was planning to cross the Delaware. The common man in the 1700's was pretty uncommon.

The same holds true for the 1800's. Throughout the Civil war War both sides exhibited extraordinary courage . If there were bookies around back then, any bettor foolish enough to back the South would have received pretty thin odds. But those Southern aristocrats and farm boys alike, led by Generals like Lee, Jackson, Longstreet and Jeb Stuart came within a hair of winning it all. It wasn't just toughness that set them apart but their intellect. If you saw Ken Burns' PBS series on the Civil war some years ago, and heard the letters written home by 'common' soldiers with less than a grade school education, their eloquence was astonishing. By way of comparison, ever eavesdrop on a conversation when a local high school is letting out? I rest my case.

What about standing up to Germany in World Wars I and II the way Americans of their day did? Men lied about their age or disabilities so they could get into the fight before it was over. The women left behind pitched in by holding down critical defense manufacturing jobs while holding the family together, waiting (and praying) for Daddy to come home. Nobody firebombed their draftboard or hopped the first plane to Canada, they did what their country asked of them. This in no way diminishes the brave men and women who answer their country's call today; my beef is with those who enjoy the liberties this country offers, hard won on battlefields around the world, but who are content to let others do the fighting.

Would the West ever have been won by modern-day Americans. Doubt it. America's western border would probably be Pennsylvania if it was up to us. We whine when the heated seats in our SUvs take too long to warm up. We winge about having to wait in line at airport security, but call for the heads of whoever was in charge when some terrorist lunatic breaches the defenses. When we screw something up there's a rush to find somebody else to blame it on. MAN UP AMERICA and try to be worthy successors to those who paid the ultimate price so we could sit in Starbucks and sip out Mocca Lattes in peace.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


The Whiner said...

You can an SUV with heated seats?

You're right and I am likely oe of the lazier ones...if someone had asked me to go to war I would have said "War, war, war....fiddle-dee-dee.."

Joseph Del Broccolo said...

Although I completely agree with you, and think that all you say IS valid, I think that today's kids are looking from the stand point of the inanity of war itself, which maybe the whole world will prosper from. Then we can say our boys and girls did it agin, led the world!
Great blog,

Jim Pantaleno said...

That's a noble sentiment Joe, but without being overly pessimistic, world peace is something I don't think we'll ever see. It's worth striving for to be sure, but our Muslim enemies hate us so much that they will never rest until we are burried. To think otherwise leaves us wide open to being conquered.